Kim, 11th in the Official World Golf Ranking, faces possible surgery to repair a detached ligament at the base of his left thumb, an injury he said has been bothering him for about 16 months.
“This injury has been well documented over the past month, and I’ve been doing everything I can to play through it, but it became more of an issue last week and needs to be looked at,” Kim, 24, said in a statement.
Kim said he will consult with doctors on treatment.
Before finishing sixth at last week’s Quail Hollow Championship, Kim said surgery would keep him off the U.S. PGA Tour for 2-3 months. Kim finished fourth at the Masters Tournament last month following a victory in the Houston Open.
Steve Stricker, ranked third, and Retief Goosen, ranked 15th will also miss the Players championship, which featured a $9.5 million purse in 2009. This year’s purse has yet to be announced. The tournament starts May 6 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
Before deciding to withdraw, Kim said he was trying to lock up a spot on the U.S. team for the Ryder Cup, scheduled for Oct. 1-3 in Wales. While Kim ranks second behind Phil Mickelson in the team standings, he would lose points if he skips any of the season’s three remaining major tournaments -- the U.S. Open in June, the British Open in July and the PGA Championship in August. The top eight in points plus four captain’s picks make the U.S. team.